Publish Date: 
Monday, November 3, 2014 - 17:15

mri-uq discovery may revolutionise diabetes treatment

A Queensland-based researcher is on the verge of a significant new approach to treatment for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Professor Mike McGuckin, from The University of Queensland’s Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ) based at TRI, said his team had discovered that a protein produced by immune cells relieves stress in the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, the beta cells.

The inability to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar is the core problem in Type 2 diabetes. Professor McGuckin said researchers believed that stress in beta cells was central to this inability to produce enough insulin to control blood glucose.

“The research shows that this protein, called IL-22, can restore the control of blood sugar levels by restoring appropriate insulin production and also correcting sensitivity to insulin in responsive tissues,” he said.

“This finding is significant because it means diabetics could potentially replace insulin injections with less frequent injections of IL-22.”

With more than 1.5 million Australians affected by diabetes, Professor McGuckin said some more work was needed to be done before clinical trials in diabetes patients could begin.

The researchers are working with partners in the pharmaceutical industry to develop prototype therapies with a view to moving towards clinical trials in patients with diabetes. The paper has been published in the internationally prestigious Nature Medicine.

MRI-UQ is a joint venture between The University of Queensland and the Mater Research

For more information please visit The Mater Research website
Original article at The Conversation

Image credit: Oskar Annermarken